Rescue Dog Too Scared To Leave His Crate Learns To Love His Backyard

“Watching him play in the garden … makes my heart explode.”

Being able to sit outside in the fresh air and soak in warm sunlight is something that a lot of us take for granted. But for Brooklyn, a golden retriever living in the U.K., spending a peaceful afternoon in his backyard is something he could’ve never imagined doing before March 2021.

And because he went through so much to be able to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells, Brooklyn never gets tired of basking in the beauty of his new life.

In 2021, Brooklyn was rescued by Harbin SHS Animal Rescue from a truck on its way to a slaughterhouse in China. At the time of his rescue, he was battling a dangerous virus and needed to undergo intensive daily treatment and rehabilitation.

“He came to us at 2 years and 9 months old,” Brooklyn’s mom, Penny France, told The Dodo. “It was a good friend of mine that found Brooklyn on Harbin SHS’s Instagram page and shared the post with me, with the message ‘brother for Stanley?’ I applied for him instantly!”


Having been through so much in the first two years of his life, Brooklyn was incredibly nervous when he first arrived at France’s house in June of this year. He had traveled from China through Amsterdam and France before finally settling in Cobham, U.K.

“You could tell that he wanted to love and trust us immediately,” France said. “Roughly two hours after arriving … Brooklyn approached me, pushed his head into my chest and cuddled me for about 10 minutes straight.”

“I sat there with him, holding him, and cried my heart out,” France added.

About 18 hours after Brooklyn came home, he was introduced to his new brother, Stanley.

“Thankfully, when he met Stanley, they became the best of friends almost instantly,” France said. “Stanley brought out a totally new side of Brooklyn, and I think it helped Brooklyn realize that he was safe.”

Penny France

It took Brooklyn about a week and a half to finally feel comfortable in his new environment and realize he was home for good. His crate was a big comfort to him during that time, but he’s grown more confident now and is able to sleep anywhere in the house.

And France is thankful Brooklyn was able to warm up to their family and home so quickly.

“Brooklyn is one of the lucky ones,” France said. “He honestly settled quicker than I could ever have imagined, and he is such a confident, loving and gentle boy.”

And every time France watches Brooklyn look and feel so relaxed in their backyard, it’s an emotional experience.

“It was incredible to watch Brooklyn take in his new home and garden,” France said. “I was happy, I was emotional, but I also felt this huge sense of relief because you could see he felt safe and content.”

“Watching him play in the garden with Stanley makes my heart explode,” she added. “I could sit and watch them play together for hours because it's like living in a real-life Disney movie.”

Going for long walks is just one of the many ways Brooklyn and Stanley are both spoiled by their parents.

Penny France

“We are your typical DINKWAD (dual income, no kids with a dog … now two) family. So, our life revolves around the two boys,” France said. “We spend our spare time doing any activity that involves the dogs: walking, swimming, paddle boarding, boat trips, beach visits, pub gardens — and Brooklyn loves all of it.”

But some of Brooklyn’s favorite activities consist of eating (“He LOVES food,” France said), swimming and cuddling.

“After everything he has been through, he loves people, and he just wants cuddles and attention,” France said.

Compared to who he was back in June 2023 when he first came home, Brooklyn is a completely different dog.

“Brooklyn is so confident now — he is cheeky, he loves attention, he is super affectionate and he does not care about the repercussions of stealing food!” France said. “But I don’t mind too much because that tells me he feels safe here.”

Penny France

“He has shown us that patience is everything and showed me that taking risks and stepping into the unknown often has wonderful results,” France added. “Life is so short, and every day he reminds me how lucky I am to have this wonderful, happy and healthy little golden family.”

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